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Jacob C. Cohen, 27th Ohio Infantry

Camp Clear Creek, near Corinth, Miss.
August 1, 1862


Here, in temporary cessation of hostilities, which the heat of the weather renders imperative on both sides, Rosecrans' division of Halleck's late grand army is regularly cantoned at various points on the line of the Mobile and Ohio Railroad. We have commenced a thorough course of drill and instruction, doubtless — if no unforeseen circumstances transpire, to continue through the remainder of the summer, so that when we again push forward our dauntless front to Dixie, we shall come forth better drilled, perfectly climatized, and numerically, as large, if not, larger than ever.

We rest at present in undisturbed quietude. No marches, scouts, reconnaissance, etc., diversify the monotony of camp life. And the whole season of "masterly inactivity" is spent in viewing the slow progress of the powers that be toward the suppression of this unholy rebellion. It does not become me in my present position to criticize the action of my superiors, yet I am not alone in the opinion that much valuable time has been wasted, and many valuable lives sacrificed in these parts, without effecting what might have been done had the proper course been pursued.

On the creek from which our camp derives its name, is encamped the Ohio brigade, consisting of the 27th, 39th, 43rd and 63rd Ohio regiments. Our Brigadier is General Dan. Tyler, of Connecticut. He is at present home on leave; in his absence, Colonel [John W.] Fuller, of the 27th, commands.

General [David S.] Stanley, of New York, commands our division. General Stanley is a regular army officer, and from his untiring energies and assiduous attention to the wants of his command, justly receives the commendation and love of all.

Many of the officers connected with this army are New Yorkers, and a large number are co-religionists. Two or three of our most prominent Colonels claim the latter honor, while line officers of our faith abound.

Yesterday was an eventful day in camp, a kind of anniversary day among those of our officers and men who were with us at the first muster and organization of our regiment. A year has rolled away since that day, and we are still in the field, — a year more pregnant with interest to our nation than any other in its whole history — a year, upon each day of which, a whole volume might be written; but as this is no time for moralizing, I pass it by. Why muse on the past! The memory of the past year, though mingled with the earth's deepest sorrows, will be pleasant, and in other days to come, will form the fitting theme of poet, statesman and patriot.

Could you have been in camp last night, (I write of that of my own regiment), you would have seen several squads of soldiers grouped together on the grass beneath the bright starlight of these Southern skies, busily engaged in relating their experiences of the past. At times, they were merry and seemed to enjoy various recollections of the past year, again a shade of sorrow would flit across their countenances as they spoke of the absent dead, for many have fallen, and are to day classed among "America's storied brave," and then, when their thoughts would revert to "home," — "Home, home, sweet home," then would seriousness pervade the circle, their conversation would become more hushed, a sense of loneliness, of being far from mother, wife, sister, or daughter, or that dearly loved one, would cause a deep drawn sigh to escape their manly bosoms, and the sounding of "Tattoo" would be a relief that is better imagined than described. "Roll call" would follow, one by one these sterling patriots would retire to their canvas habitations, and in another hour all were wrapt in peaceful slumber, and no sound was to be heard in camp, but the occasional "who goes there?" of some vigilant sentinel patrolling his beat.

Such is our military life; day after day passes by, the events of one being but a repetition of the other. I have made this more lengthy than I expected; hoping I am not intruding on your space, with this, my initial letter to you, I will say, au revoir.


Jacob C. Cohen Letters